The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

Vishnu Puthenpurayil (11)

November 16, 2022

Based on his research, Puthenpurayil claims that in a matchup between a king cobra and a mongoose, the fight can go either way — it depends on who can dodge the most hits from their opponent. He has seen this in the one vs. one animal showdown videos he watches on YouTube, predicting who will win before the fight, and then doing research on why afterwards. Although these videos seem like a source of pure entertainment, they are also a manifestation of his interest in nature and wildlife.

Puthenpurayil has been walking with his parents since kindergarten, and says on their walks, he appreciates the shade of bright red staining the leaves during fall and observes the natural world around him in fascination. He is especially interested in the wild animals that roam around the world, “because they’re so cool.” He loves learning about them — if not through his own eyes, then through books. 

“I was reading a book in school about sea otters,” Puthenpurayil said. “And I really got interested in them, so I searched in Google what sea otters are. To learn more, I went to a library near us and brought a few books about sea otters, and read [them]. The most interesting piece of information [I learned] is that sea otters’ most deadly things are oil spills because their fur gets oily and really hard, and makes it really hard [for them] to survive.” 

Through conducting experiments in class, Puthenpurayil has also found an interest in science — he enjoys watching the solutions bubble or explode, but also likes to figure out the mechanics behind why by asking his teachers and his friends. He also hopes to replicate some experiments at home such as the crystallization of salt to see if they produce the same result.

“I follow up,” Puthenpurayil said. “[However], one of the things that I still haven’t done is the volcano project. Every day, I want to do it, but then somehow I just forget about it. And the next day, I remember it again and I want to do it but I don’t have time so it just keeps on going.”

Puthenpurayil wants to combine his two interests and become a wildlife scientist when he grows up. He wants to be someone who explores new places and does “science stuff” such as finding out special characteristics of animals. He has a bucket list of places he wants to go, from the forests in India, to the North and South Poles, to the deep sea. Puthenpurayil made sure to emphasize that he “love[s] every single animal” — from peregrine falcons to eagles to mongooses to snakes to beavers.


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